Oh my holy crap

Could it be that Metal Gear Solid 4 will be an actual video game? As opposed to a string of interesting but straightforward situations connecting overwrought plot events?

Why… yes. Uh, well, maybe. Kojima’s hoodwinked us before, but I’m seeing things in this video that Metal Gear has desperately needed for a very long time, and some things that look downright amazing.

The ability to influence the outcome of an open battle? Awesome. Sure, the FPS genre has been doing that sort of thing for ages, ever since DOOM, really — you could trick enemies into shooting each other, and in fact some areas were more or less impossible to clear without doing precisely that. Other shooters like Marathon, Half-Life and Halo have featured sections where the player is a third party outsider to a larger conflict. But if outcomes and alliances are really as fluid as this demo makes them seem, I for one am willing to allow my mind to be blown.

The bigger environments are a welcome addition, too. Again, after all that MGS2 tanker demo tomfoolery I’m reluctant to assume that this demo’s scenario is anything more than a single fancy setpiece intended to wow us before pulling the rug from beneath our feet. But if the whole game is like this, it’s going to be incredible. The gameplay in the MGS series lives and dies by the environment design, and the limited, constrictive corridors of the Big Shell were the biggest disappointment about MGS2 for me. Yeah, contrived story, too much dialogue, Rose was annoying, whatever; the game’s real failure was how little variety and freedom it offered.

MG3 took big strides to redeem the series with much more real situations and environments, but this bombed-out city is something else entirely. I’m sure the collapsible buildings are strictly scripted, but between the apparent fluidity of the AI skirmishes and the sheer immensity of the level design, MGS4 suddenly has me excited — no small feat after that horrible E3 trailer. I can honestly say I barely care about the series’ story anymore (I blame the Talking Hand of Destiny), but the gameplay looks stupendous.

I could live without the gimmicky SIXAXIS nonsense though. Here is a transcript of my video-watching experience:

Kojima: “The entire game can be controlled from a first-person perspective, so those of you who like FPSes should play like this…”
My brain: “YESSSSSSSS”
Kojima: “And it uses the SIXAXIS tilt function for control.”
My brain: “WHY GOD WHY”

Ah well, I guess it wouldn’t be a Kojima game without some sort of annoying gimmick that brings you out of the experience. I’ll hold out hope that this is as bad as it gets while bracing myself for worse. But really, what could be worse than the Raiden reacharound video? Nothing, that’s what.

30 thoughts on “Oh my holy crap

  1. You really think his gimmicks bring players out of the experience? I’ve always felt Kojima’s tomfolery were a nice way of mixing the necessary reality of holding a controller into the game world.

  2. Interesting coincidence. A few days ago I was thinking about MGS2 and trying to remember why I was so unhappy with it, and one of the reasons I came up with was how the environment was all narrow corridors and small cluttered rooms while the original MGS gave some open areas to explore. I never thought about this before or saw anyone else mention it but now you’ve made roughtly the same comment.


  3. 1. There’s nothing wrong with Raiden.

    2. You’re 100% right about MGS2’s environments.

    3. The story is still great, MGS2 was just a little sloppy with it.

    4. That’s what you guys get if you want to play this as an FPS anyway.

  4. “horrible E3 trailer”

    So what was so terrible about it? I’ve been hearing a lot of this suddenly, but no one ever really justifies it so I was curious.

  5. Although some story elements (such as Liquid ridiculous return) and some characters are way too wierd (read: Vamp), I liked MGS2 a lot. Back when it was about to be released, I tought it was going to be crap, but it wasn’t. I can understad why so many people hate that game, but I just can’t. At least, I respect it for taking chances (you don’t play as Snake!!). Then again… MGS is famous for tricking people into think that it has an actual serious story, which is not entirelly true.

    Now, I hope this is truly the end of the series, ’cause if there’s something I do not like aboutthe videogame industry is how it tends to kill its franchises with overexposure. Snake and co., passed that line already (not thanks to the main series, but the spin-offs, remakes and stuff) but it still can be saved.

  6. “Your knee is jerking pretty badly.”

    Yeah, well…I have two of ’em, so there.

  7. 1up, while being one of my favorite sites for gaming news and features written by some person who frequents this place, stinks. Why must you always be down? (exaggeration, thy name is hyperbole)

  8. Rolling power outages in downtown San Francisco have knocked our servers offline today.

    Also, anyone who thinks I’m down on Raiden as a character hasn’t been paying attention. The only real problem with Raiden is Rose, who hopefully fell screaming into a black hole between MGS2 and MGS4.

  9. What were the gimmicks in the other metal gear solid games? The Psycho Mantis fight? You don’t like when the 4th wall is broken?

    One thing that I like about the MGS series is the mix of realisim and fantastic(vamp, the sorrow, psycho mantis, liquid arm…) and all the humor and easter eggs that show how the people making this game love what they are doing.

    and the sixaxis “nonsense” they only thing that was shown was that you can lean left and right something that has been on PC FPS games since ever.

  10. Has anybody else noticed how cheap Metal Gear Solid 3 is these days?? I was windowshopping today and I saw it as low as $10, assuming you want it used.

    My point is that as amazing as MGS4 may end up being, I feel very justified in waiting until the PS3 and it are as dirt cheap as the PS2 and MGS3 currently are.

  11. Prime >> “You don’t like when the 4th wall is broken?”

    I personally find that to be sort of inappropriate for game that tries to be as serious as MGS sometimes does. My chief problem with MGS games is the inconsistency of the presentation – it veers wildly from humorous and silly to serious and overwrought, sometimes even in the same cutscene. It’s hard for me to listen to some Kojima blogesque rant about nukes or memetics seriously when not long ago some guy in a gasmask mocked me for playing Super Mario Sunshine, and so forth. (Say what you will about the flat narratives of Splinter Cell, but at least you know Sam Fisher won’t suddenly tell a fart joke after defusing a hostage situation.)

    If Kojima would just make a comedy game where he could go balls to the wall with his off-the-wall stuff, I think it’d turn out better.

  12. He may not lay down some flatus after a hot round of bullet tag; however, Ubisoft would be better off if he did. Can you imagine that extra layer of stealth? Feed Sam some Hormel Chili and now he has to clench his cheeks so that the bad guys don’t, first, hear the noise and, second, smell it. It would certainly make for some belly laughs in my house, sir, guffaws even.

    Are you really complaining that some light hearted humor in a game like Metal Gear is a detriment to its ability to tell a story? Lighten up, man.

  13. I’m mostly just pissed at how the enemies get more and more ridiculous superpowers every game. Psycho Mantis and Vulcan Raven had themes that are common enough in mainstream media that my suspension of disbelief let them slide. The Fear and The Sorrow? Not so much. By the time MGS5 rolls around (insert hero) will be fighting the goddam Justice League.

  14. If you were to take away the humor from MGS it would kill the character. Those in-the-box conversations and moments like “infinite ammo” are an integral (and awesome) part of MGS in my mind. It’s never been a pure tactical stealth game anyways (sorry, Thief is still the king of stealth ^_^).

    I honestly thought the gameplay in MGS2 was stronger in many respects than MGS3. Crammed environments aside, it played faster and more intuitively since it was less bogged down with camo options and the lack of active radar. Actually, I think MGS2 serves as a good case that MGS fans view gameplay as secondary – merely a means to the end of revealing the plot (which was admittedly better in 3).

  15. RE4 is “basically a MGS game”?? Are you kidding?? And to compare it to Shen Mue is reaching even more.

  16. In terms of characters, I like Naked Snake better than the other main characters, because it was the first one in the series to seem actually human. He didn’t try to sound too cool or to prove anything. Just a simple man doing a not-so-simple job.

    Gameplaywise, I too feel MGS1 and MGS2 are more intuitive than MGS3. While the camo, eating and healing options were theorically cool, they came with a bunch of menus and submenus that cut the rythim. The previous titles had only two item categories: items and weapons, and you need no more.

    Now, watching the gameplay footage of MGS4: Do I have to press triangle to flatten against a wall? That was the worst gameplay feature from Portable Ops in my opinion.

  17. Am I seeing things, or does Solid Snake now have the ability to disarm an opponent by squeezing and punching their very nuts?

  18. Josh >> “Are you really complaining that some light hearted humor in a game like Metal Gear is a detriment to its ability to tell a story?”

    Yes, for the type of story it wants to be telling. If the game didn’t take itself so seriously, the humor bits would mesh better. However, given that the humor tends to take the low road (Col. Volgin grabbing your balls with an electric fist) and the story tries to be SERIOUS BUSINESS, I think it comes together very poorly. Serious stories can have lighter elements to relieve tension, but this ain’t how to do it.

  19. Is it O.K. to say it kinda looks graphically like Resident Evil 4 and that it will not save the PS3 from oblivion and that it is too little too late?

  20. This might sound superficial, but what I hated most about MGS2 was that the Big Shell had terrible atmosphere. It was an ugly, orange environmental facility in broad daylight. You could call this breaking cliche, but in a game that otherwise emphasizes superficial “coolness” I’d sure like the setting to look cool, too. The small rooms weren’t much of a problem for me, though they did encourage an obsessive playing style, where one tries to do every single room “right.”

    The inconsistent tone of MGS has always been one of my favorite parts. It makes it nicely unpredictable, at least in a sense. And it makes the games occasionally feel like having a conversation with a friend, since conversations have the same varying tone and lack of constraints. I like that feeling.

  21. Wow, this looks amazing. I only hope it’s easier to pull off the moves shown here than it usually is in MGS games (i.e., hold down 12 buttons).

    Overall though, fantastic demo.

  22. RE4 was not a MGS game. RE1 was. Total rip-off if you ask me, only difference is the controls in MGS make sense. Well, the walking controls at least.

    My only problem with MGS2 was Rose. I played that game at least three dozen times (mostly for Dog Tags); every time, that bitch was there: YOU KNOW RAIDEN DISARMING BOMBS IS A LOT LIKE A RELATIONSHIP yadayadayadayada.

  23. Also, I must say, I hope they bring back the pull-ups/chin-ups from MGS2. In fact, they should have an RPG-like system to upgrade your abilities. Just gain XP from using guns or CQC or something.

    I mean damn, they put in that surgeon sim in MGS3, why not a system to better your sniping?

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